Diversity and inclusion are core values of the University of Illinois Counseling Center. We believe that our international students and faculty/staff make significant contributions to our university and to the Champaign-Urbana community. This is why we are disappointed by recent proposed changes by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to limit the amount of time international students have to complete their degrees and also gain employment in the United States after they finish their studies.
In late September, the Department of Homeland Security issued a proposal to establish “a fixed time period of admission and an extension of stay procedure for nonimmigrant academic students, exchange visitors, and representatives of foreign information media.” In practice, these proposed regulations will mean international students have a set amount of time to finish their programs of study that is determined by DHS—not the institutions that are granting degrees. This will cause undue stress and uncertainty for students.
Further, the new proposed rules make it a requirement that to get a job in the United States after graduating, international students will have to be paid a much higher salary than other entry level employees. Additionally, the proposed changes would require students seeking Optional Practical Training (OPT) to also file an Extension of Stay request. This makes seeking needed job training or hiring opportunities in the United States nearly impossible. These proposed changes are especially concerning to us as we have always worked to hire a staff that mirrors the diversity of our students. If these proposed rules go forward, it would be very difficult to continue to hire international clinicians who best understand the needs of international students.
For these reasons, we echo the concerns raised by the University of Illinois and International Student and Scholar Services and urge DHS to not implement the proposed changes.
To learn more about the proposed regulations, please visit the Federal Register website.
We are here to support any student who is feeling overwhelmed and uncertain as a result of these proposed changes. While our offices remain closed to in-person contact due to the ongoing pandemic, we are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 217-333-3704. If you need to speak with someone after 5 p.m., please call the Crisis Line at 217-359-4141.
Below are some resources that may be helpful for you:
Counseling Center brochure: Cross-Cultural Journey for International Students
Counseling Center Brochure: Race-Related Stress
Counseling Center Brochure: Being Assertive in a Multicultural World
University of Illinois International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)
Guide to Living with Worry and Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty (available in 40 languages)